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Frequent flyer? Planning a trip in the near future? Many credit cards offer points on eligible purchases for various frequent flyer programs, including Cathay Pacific points.
If you’re already using a credit card regularly, for everyday or just larger expenses, having a card that also earns you frequent flyer points could help you to partially, or even entirely, fund your next flight.
What are credit card reward points?
Reward points are frequently offered as a credit card perk or benefit, in partnership with a particular frequent flyer program, such as Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Qantas Frequent Flyer or Virgin Velocity Frequent Flyer.
Points are earned on eligible purchases (most everyday transactions), often at a rate of 0.5, 1 or even 2 points per dollar spent. These points can then be used to fund flights, upgrades, accommodation and other experiences.
What are Cathay Pacific points and how do I earn them?
Cathay Pacific points are earned through the Cathay Pacific Asia Miles program. The easiest and most efficient way to earn these points, as with all airline reward programs, is through Cathay Pacific and their partner airlines’ flights. However, if you’re not taking a flight every few weeks but still want to build up a good reserve of air miles, a credit card rewards program might be your next best option.
Unlike other frequent flyer programs, there is no dedicated credit card available in Australia that will earn you Cathay Pacific Asia Miles specifically. However, there are several Australian banks that offer credit cards with the Asia Miles program as a transfer partner. This means that you can “exchange" the reward points you have earned on your credit card for air miles, which can then be redeemed via the Cathay Pacific Asia Miles program. More detailed information can be found on the Cathay Pacific Asia Miles page.
How do I spend Cathay Pacific Points?
Cathay Pacific points are known as Asia Miles, and can be redeemed for flights, hotels, car rentals and many other experiences. One of the most cost-effective ways to redeem air miles is by using them for flights.
You can book flights using your Asia Miles on Cathay Pacific flights, as well as any of the oneworld alliance partner airlines.
Remember, Asia Miles are valid for three years from the original date accrued. So if you were planning on saving up your Asia Miles for a few years to help fund a big trip, make sure you have your eye on the expiry date.
What routes does Cathay Pacific fly?
Cathay Pacific has a global network, and flies to cities throughout the Asia Pacific, Americas, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Some of the most common destinations from Australian cities include Hong Kong, Nanjing, Taipei, London, Manila and Seoul.
But don’t forget, you can redeem your Asia Miles points through any oneworld alliance partner airline, including Qantas, British Airways, Japan Airlines and Finnair.
Which other airlines have frequent flyer programs?
In Australia, the two big players of the frequent flyer programs are Qantas Frequent Flyers and Virgin Velocity Frequent Flyers. However, Australian travellers shouldn’t be afraid to look outside local rewards programs, as you may find even more value with other programs, such as Asia Miles.
Other major airlines with their own rewards programs include Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Emirates Skywards, Etihad Guest and British Airways Executive Club.
What are the pros of credit card reward points?
Depending on which credit card you choose, you may even earn several rewards points per dollar spent. Even though rewards points do not convert dollar for dollar, the thought of being rewarded for buying lunch, groceries or any everyday expenses can be very enticing. Depending on your spending habits, you could start building up a good reserve of points within a few months of switching to a credit card with reward points.
In addition to earning reward points, these types of credit cards usually have other perks included. These might include discounted travel insurance, shopping insurance for purchases made on your credit card, extended warranty and VIP event seating or pre-sales.
Many reward point credit cards also offer discounted rates, or cash-back offers on particular purchases, usually for a limited time. For example, you might spend $100 at a partner restaurant, and receive $30 back to your credit card. These types of offers incentivise spending and create a sense of urgency due to the limited-time nature of the offer.
What are the cons of credit card reward points?
So, what’s the downside to these reward point credit cards? For starters, when you’re looking at a reward points credit card, make sure that you check the annual fee; that’s the amount you have to pay each year just to keep the credit card.
There are some reward point credit cards with a $0 annual fee, but these are few and far between. For some of these cards, the annual fee is hundreds of dollars, a fee rarely so high for other more ‘standard’ credit cards. If there’s a particular credit card you’ve heard about, or are considering, make sure you check the annual fee before making any commitments. Many credit card providers will waive the annual fee for the first year for new customers, so this can make it even easier to miss.
The other potential downside to rewards point credit cards is the interest rates. Reward points credit cards are notorious for high interest rates, usually at or around 20 per cent. If you’re in the habit of not paying off your card in full each month, bear in mind how much interest you’ll be paying. A high interest rate can quickly turn into credit card debt that you could have trouble paying off.
Many rewards point credit cards are also designed for big spenders, hence the high annual fee and interest rates. Some of these cards also come with high minimum credit limits of $10,000 or more. If you’re concerned that access to this amount of credit could make it difficult for you to control your spending, take this into account before committing to a card.
Is a credit card with Cathay Pacific points right for me?
If you’ve weighed up the pros and cons and are ready to find a reward points credit card, earning Cathay Pacific Asia Miles could very well be a good option.
If you want to earn rewards points to use for flights, and don’t want to be restricted to a preferred airline, Cathay Pacific’s partnership with oneworld gives you the option to choose from more than 20 partner airlines.
However, because there is no specific Cathay Pacific credit card available to Australian consumers, you will need to be willing to keep track of your reward points, and then redeem them for Asia Miles in order to take advantage of this scheme. If you prefer a set it and forget it approach to your spending and reward schemes, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles may not be right for you.
As with all credit cards, it’s important to weigh up the costs and potential rewards before making the best financial decision for you and your circumstances.
Property Personal Finance Writer
A property and personal finance writer, Nick Bendel covers property, loans, credit cards, superannuation, and other bank products. Nick has previously written for The Adviser, Mortgage Business, Lifehacker, Business Insider, Yahoo Finance, and InvestorDaily, and loves getting elbow-deep in the latest ABS, APRA and RBA data.
There is no one-size-fits-all best rewards credit card. It's best you research what type of rewards program you'd like, as well as the fees, interest rate and conditions associated with those types of cards before making a choice.
Rewards credit cards can also come with high annual fees that may end up nullifying the rewards, so think how often you use the card to decide whether the benefits outweigh the extra cost for you. A card with a lower annual fee might require a lot of spending to get any useful rewards, while another card with a higher annual fee might need fewer purchases to get a reward.